Monday, December 1, 2008

Is Borders Racist?

Yes it’s a big corporation, but I've always liked Borders, it started as a small bookshop in Ann Arbor, MI, they carry Paperchase products that I loved in London…and I get free gift cards to their stores from my credit card. But today when I went to spend said gift card at the Borders in Columbus Circle something happened that made me wonder…is Borders racist?

I was buying my Little Sister the book Caucasia by Danzy Senna, a book that yes, is about race issues (amongst other things), a book I read years ago and bought in the general fiction section of a book store. But alas when I went to the fiction section to find this bestselling, award winning book…it was nowhere to be found. So I asked an employee, who looked it up and told me it was in the “African American literature” section…now this wasn’t the African American Studies section, which is totally valid and for non-fiction books…this is a section of novels….for black people.

How is this OK? They don’t put the Joy Luck Club in “Chinese American literature” as far as I could tell fiction books for adults were divided into general fiction, western, romance, (maybe thriller or mystery or something like that), and African American. This is like calling the Rap and R&B CD section “African American Music.” Just seems kind of offensive in my humble opinion. This is the first time I’ve noticed this, maybe other bookstores do it too, maybe it doesn’t bother other people…just seemed a little Jim Crow-y to me…